If you’re looking for cutting-edge Asian cuisine in Salt Lake City, you might want to drive past Kyoto, located across from Liberty Heights Fresh. But if traditional Japanese fare and astonishingly friendly service are your thing, then Kyoto has all the right stuff. Kick off your meal with fresher-than-fresh saba—delicious mackerel served sashimi-style—before moving on to, perhaps, the justifiably renowned tempura. Ebi (shrimp) tempura comes piled massively onto a plate, and although it looks impossible to finish, you’re going to savor every single bite. Osamu Tada’s lovely restaurant oozes serenity and calm, from the manicured gardens and outside patio to the lengthy granite sushi bar and private rice-paper and wood-trimmed booths. Kimonoclad servers seem to float on air through the dining rooms, always at your table exactly when you need them. This restaurant is quite popular, and deservedly so: It’s smart to make advance reservations.
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